Bus Company Tries To Shut Down Online Carpooling Service

from the why,-that's-illegal! dept

Carpooling is exactly the sort of thing that is perfect for a web app -- to match up potential drivers and riders -- but apparently it makes bus companies upset. A Canadian bus company has actually gone so far to try to shut down an online carpool matching service, claiming that it's illegal. The bus company actually had someone go and test out the carpool service, and has now asked the local transportation board in Ottawa to shut down the service. Their argument is that these carpools are unregulated, and the drivers are not licensed and don't have to follow the same regulations that bus and taxi services do. Perhaps that's a reason to re-examine the regulations rather than shutting down the carpooling service, though.

Filed Under: carpools, lawsuits, protectionism, regulations

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Aug 2008 @ 8:54pm


    Ride-sharing orgs are a natural extension of student ride-boards. For the past 20-odd years, I have been using the services of Allo-Stop to travel between Montreal and Quebec city, as well as between Montreal and Sherbrooke, and it provides a reasonable alternative to taking commercial buses for around half the price.

    Note that I am not a student, and was already well past my student years when I discovered Allo-Stop, but I did travel in the company of many students on such trips, and in some cases the drivers themselves were students, and one was a recently graduated (i.e. former) student. They all say that the advantages to them are varied, from lowering their gas/toll expenses to making their long-distance trips less boring through the assorted company and conversation they get from participating passengers. As for the passengers, they get the savings, obviously, but they also do get to meet interesting new people, and sometimes they even benefit from non-standard departure/arrival times as well as numerous pick-up points, plus some possibility of negotiating custom drop-off points.

    BTW, the Star article does mention that the Ontario provincial government already yielded to similar pressures to force the shutdown of Allo-Stop's provincial offices a few years ago. They used to have a few Ontario locations as part of their routes, but now they are limited to the Quebec province.

    There is little doubt in my mind that this legal challenge has a good chance of succeeding (AGAIN), although I am pleased to read that PickupPal intends to fight this out. Owing to their small size, Allo-Stop probably could not afford to mount a legal defense, and so just gave up the Ontario market at the time (2000). The difference in government may or may not help as well, but on that we will just have to see...

    Good luck PickupPal!

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